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Coffee Competition: SOMA San Francisco

I love coffee. It’s something about that warm beverage first thing in the morning (or after dinner for that matter), that really puts a smile on my face.

I’m not talking about the fancy stuff either like a Decaf Soy Latte or “half-skim, half half & half, half decaf mochachinolattechai with just a dusting of nutmeg and cane sugar”. I’m talking about good old plain coffee, the stuff that Juan Valdez would be proud of. I take mine black, though about 15% of the time I’ll add some milk.

I wasn’t always a fan of coffee. My earliest memory of the dark goodness was when I was in middle school, when my dad, on rare occassion, would make a concotion of egg, sugar, and coffee. I loved that stuff, but at some point it stopped, and I never had that urge to grab a coffee in the morning – chocolate milk or OJ was always my preferred choice. Anyway, once I “grew up”, and started working in the real world, I would need to burn some time, while Windows would boot up (about 5 minutes), so would go to grab a coffee. By the time I was done making my coffee, my computer would be ready for my password. And so the tradition began. Now, I try to get one in the morning, and a coffee at around 2pm. So I am on two cups a day (large cups, but cups nonetheless).

Which brings me to where I am today – recently unemployed, with a computer, and some time. That combined with my overly critical nature, and the recommendation of a friend who said I should grade each of the local coffee shops, leads me to write this series of posts.

What I will do is have a cup of coffee in each of the local coffee shops and give grades to (a) coffee, (b) service, and (c) atmosphere.

The contestants include:

1. Starbucks at the corner of Jessie and New Montgomery.
2. The Roastery close to the intersection of New Montgomery and Howard
3. Philz Coffee by 4th and King
4. Panera by 4th and King
5. Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza
6. Chatz coffee on 2nd
7. Peets by Market and 4th
8. Four Barrell on Valencia (though out of SOMA, this is supposedly the best).

So there are eight. I think eight is enough for a good sample, though if I run across anymore, I may decided to add them in. Also, there seems to be a Starbucks on ever corner, so decided to choose the one across from the Academy of Art, because its open at more convenient times than the one closer to my apartment. There is also a Blue Bottle in the Ferry Building, but I question the genuineness of that Blue Bottle, since its in such a touristy location.

The rules are simple, I will get a large plain coffee, and will drink it black with sugar. I will sit at each location and post about the coffee (at the time I’m drinking, if possible). Let the games begin…

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